The civil war in South Sudan began in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of planning a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that has split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines. Over 140,000 people have sought shelter in United Nation (UN) camps across the country. The UN has reported a cholera outbreak in this war-torn country.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said, "A total of 484 cholera cases, including 29 deaths, six of them children under five, had been reported by the end of June. Up to 5,000 children under age five are at risk of dying from cholera unless urgent action is taken to contain this threat. Cholera is particularly dangerous for young children as it causes rapid and severe dehydration due to excessive diarrhea and vomiting."
The World Health Organization and aid workers are carrying out cholera vaccination campaigns. The outbreak is believed to have begun in early June, 2015, in crowded UN bases in the capital Juba and then spread to other parts of the city. All the cholera cases reported have been in Juba, although tests are being conducted on six suspected cases in other areas outside the city.
Last year too, at least 167 people died in a cholera outbreak that was later contained. Stamping out the disease, which is transmitted through water or food containing contaminated fecal matter, poses an additional major challenge for the South Sudan government and aid workers.